9 Tips to Get Relief From the Heat
Whoa, it’s hot! These scorching summer days can make you feel sweaty, sluggish, and weighed down by the intense heat. Here’s how to stay cool and dry, and protect against heat illness when the temperature’s rising.
1. Be careful in extreme heat.
Over the next 30 years, the number of extremely hot days per year is expected to more than double in some parts of Canada. Extreme heat can put everyone at risk from heat illnesses, but older adults are more prone to heat stress. Hot temperatures can be dangerous, especially if you’re exercising or working in the heat, or you have a health issue such as hypertension or breathing, heart, or kidney problems. Air pollution tends to be higher during extreme heat, and poor air quality can affect the heart, exacerbate cardiovascular disease, and worsen allergies and asthma.
2. Watch out for heat illness.
Overexposure or overexertion in the heat can cause heat-related illnesses such as heat edema (swelling of the hands, ankles and feet), heat cramps, heat rash, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. When the body can’t properly cool itself by sweating, the body temperature rises quickly. In extremely hot weather with high humidity, sweat doesn’t evaporate rapidly, which prevents the body from releasing heat as fast. Very high body temperatures can damage the brain or other vital organs, and even result in death. The good news is that heat-related deaths and illness are preventable. The most important thing is to keep cool and hydrated during extreme heat.
3. Know the symptoms.
Symptoms of heat illness include dizziness or fainting, rapid breathing and heartbeat, nausea or vomiting, headache, extreme thirst, and decreased urination with dark yellow urine. If you have any of these symptoms, move to a cool place and drink liquids (water, ideally). Heat stroke is a medical emergency! Call 911 if you’re with someone who has a high body temperature and is unconscious, confused, or has stopped sweating.
4. Stay in the shade.
To give your body’s thermostat a chance to recover, rest often in the shade. Tree-shaded areas can be as much as 5ºC cooler than the surrounding area. Shade yourself by wearing a wide-brimmed, breathable hat or using an umbrella. Limit your outdoor activity to morning or evening hours when it’s cooler.
5. Drink up.
Stay hydrated by drinking lots of cool, non-alcoholic fluids before you feel thirsty. (By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.) Avoid very cold drinks, which can cause stomach cramps. If you’re exercising, drink two to four glasses (16 to 32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour. Caution: if your doctor has prescribed a fluid-restriction diet or diuretics for you, ask your doctor first how much you should drink. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat, but be sure to talk with your doctor about it if you’re on a low-salt diet.
6. Dress wisely.
Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing made of breathable fabric such as cotton, which helps absorb moisture to keep it off your skin. Don’t forget your hat, sunglasses, and a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Just remember that sunscreen protects from the sun’s UV rays but not from the heat. Sunburned skin loses its sweating efficiency, making it more difficult for your body to regulate its temperature.
7. Escape to air conditioning.
Air conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness. Keep yours set to the highest comfortable setting (22–26°C). If you don’t have air conditioning, spend a few hours in an air-conditioned place (a shopping mall, community centre, movie theatre, or library).
8. Keep your home cool.
To make the temperature cooler in your home, close window coverings during the day, and open your windows at night (if it’s safe) to let cooler air inside. It’s also smart to avoid using heat-generating appliances (such as your dryer, stove and oven) on extremely hot days.
9. Splash off and dust off.
It’s important to keep your skin cool and dry to prevent heat rash — a red cluster of pimples or small blisters that can make skin sting and itch. Heat rash is caused by excessive sweating in hot, humid weather. The sweat gets trapped under the skin and blocks the sweat glands, often where skin touches skin, such as the neck, armpits, groin, and under the breasts. To avoid heat rash, first take a cool shower or bath to feel refreshed. Then apply Gold Bond® Medicated Body Powder to help you stay cool and dry. Known as the Powder with the Power, it absorbs excess moisture and relieves the pain and itch associated with minor skin irritations.
Find more relief from summer skin problems at goldbond.ca.